A Day On The Dunes And Smoked Fish For Dinner
Art is directly influenced by the living conditions and context of where we stay. Whilst on residency at Nida Art Colony we have worked on a series of interventions questioning the nomadic quality of our practice: how long do we have to live in a place, not to be just passers by? The notion of the tourist and travelling from one place to another, migrating, shifting and crossing borders. Whether through a travelling dune made out of a plastic printed sheet, afloating and moving border marker or a series of re-made postcards, we are posing a critical comment on the environment we have inhabited, accompanied with humour and poetry. Our research and practice focuses on space, which is, to a certain extent, universal. Space is a very broad term used to define something which is simultaneously physical, social and psychological. Space is anentity, having a non-tangible and diverse meaning, which operates through human thought and action. We work in this way to, if possible, create a more objective artwork where the individual stance is questioned. Enquiring into the distinction between experience and interpretatio n in ethnographically inclined collaborative artworks and how does our individual life experience merge into one piece? However, in Nida this notion was challenged as one of our members was brought up just a few kilometres away in the neighbouring city of Klaipeda. How can we, as a collective, be objective when one of our members is relatively local, with prior experiences of the place, is it already filled with preconceptions? Does this mar our projected expectations of the place?
From the porch outside the colony, sitting on a confortable sofa in what we turned into our make-shift office, one encounters daily coaches full of transitory tourists, driving past and making their way to the top of the hill to the sun dial and viewing platform, a wooden peninsular which juts out overlooking the sand dunes and the Russian boarder. The migrating sand dunes are undoubtedly beautiful, and it is no surprise that that is the image Nida projects, the spectacle of nature. People come here trying to capture its essence in a photograph, concerned of getting the right picture.The image of reality is 'transformed', schematised through media, creating a new and this in itself is a spectacle. Even after an extended stay you are never there long enough to actually witness the migration of the dunes, one projects an expectation of this when viewing them. I n When Fake Moves Dunes, we set out to explore the juxta-
position of the real and synthesised experience of the spectacle and the expectations which the spectator projects upon it.
For those that go further than the viewing platform,wandering down into the dunes you encounter the first of many borders, the one that divides you to the National Park, a nomansland to Russia. Situated in the National Park, within the sand dunes across the 1.8mile breadth of the spit, is the Russian-Lithuanian border,mapped out by nine, three-meter high border markers. The idea of geo-politicising and imposing something fixed, marking the periphery of a space with a line that divides the territory of the two states is a manmade concept. The markers are imposed onto something that is ever moving and changing,it is not a fixed space, yet like any other region it has had its boundaries defined into a fixed and rigid concept. The two exist in a constant state of flux and thus become, using the idea of Michel Foucault, a heterotopia, which is a space of otherness, simultaneously physical and mental. The border is a complexity filled with ambiguity.
Travel constructs a fictional relationship between gaze and landscape. And while we use the word 'space' to describe the frequentation of places which specifically defines the journey, we should still remember that there are spaces in which the individual feels himself to be a spectator without paying much attention to the spectacle. As if the position of spectator were the essence of the spectacle, as if basically the spectator in the position of a spectator were his own spectacle…the travellers space may thus be the archetype of non-place.
After the coach collects you from a day out on this extraordinary landscape one takes a respite in the centre of Nida town, where you can find the tourist office, a mandatory pit stop to collect handfuls of postcards to be sent to family and friends and to be kept as mementos. These postcard images exist as a composed account, a created snapshot which project a different reality to what is actually in existence. They are consumable representations, which in essence,are non-places, constructed images that say to the spectator.
"I have been here".
When Fake Moves Dunes
2013, Parnidis dune, Nida, Lithuania
1 Channel Video (00:17:32), Printed Linoleum Sheet 4 X 4 m
2013, Curonian Lagoon, Nida Arts Colony Studio, Nida, Lithuanian
2 Channels Video (00:04:24), 1:50 and 1:1 Scale Marker Pole, Paper, Moving engine, Wood